Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The New (Illustrated) Catechism

If you haven't heard already, some really interesting news about the newest release of the catechism, carefully overseen by Benedict XVI.
There is an unexpected novelty in the new "Compendium" of the catechism of the Catholic Church presented by Benedict XVI on June 28. It features prominently, in full color, fourteen sacred images.
As the pope has explained, the images are not there purely for the sake of illustration. They are an integral part of the new catechism.

They are to be reproduced in all the translations of the "Compendium." And each time they are to be placed in the same position with respect to the text. Each of the images is accompanied by a detailed commentary, with extensive citations from the Bible and the Fathers of the Church.

The first image comes at the beginning of the book, right after the title and the papal "motu proprio" of approval and publication. It is the icon of Christ painted by Theophane of Crete in 1456 for the Stavronikita monastery on Mount Athos.
The whole article is definately worth a read.


Anonymous said...

We will be adding this to our "to purchase" list. One thing that struck me in the aritcle was this quote from our beloved Pontiff:

"Images are also a preaching of the Gospel. Artists in every age have offered the principal facts of the mystery of salvation to the contemplation and wonder of believers by presenting them in the splendour of colour and in the perfection of beauty. It is an indication of how today more than ever, in a culture of images, a sacred image can express much more than what can be said in words, and be an extremely effective and dynamic way of communicating the Gospel message."

Since this is the case, why do we Americans build such drab churches? There are a few notable exceptions in recent memory: St. Anne's in Coppell, TX (Diocese of Dallas) and St. Elizabeth Anne Seton in Keller, TX (Diocese of Fort Worth). My theory is that those in charge of the architechture have embraced a false notion that our Protestant friends criticize the Catholic Church for: Why spend so much money on decorating your churches when there are so many poor folks to feed? Yet this is easily reconciled when we recognize our Lord is physically present in the sanctuary (in the Tabernacle). We SHOULD be able to recognize that it is most fitting to adorn the house of our Lord with things we find precious.

Mrs. Darwin had recently commented about the new crucifix at your parish, and how it (a piece of sacred art) drew her more deeply into the Mass, especially the Eucharist. Images are powerful. Imagine icons of the Saints in a church to recall the Communion of Saints. Imagine gold & marble to remind us of God's majesty. I could go on, but I'm sure you get my drift. I could do the same for sacred music, another art form, but I shall refrain on account of being long-winded. :-)

mrs. felderhoff, bubba, and sissy all send a big howdy...


mrsdarwin said...

Recall also that the Lord himself said that "the poor you will have with you always." :)

When I was young, my family attended a parish in Virginia that built a new church in the early 1980s or late 1970s. It was a large concrete structure, and often mistaken for a gym or a bowling alley. The new cathedral in Los Angeles, which is I believe called Our Lady of the Angels, looks bizarrely like a prison: the big bell tower looks like one of those guard towers with machine guns. Darwin's father was actually a consultant on a piece of astronomical artwork on the plaza, though unfortunately he had no say on the artistic merits of the thing. Oh well. I'm just rambling here on a Saturday morning...